Closeup of gas furnace burner blowers

A gas furnace provides comfort when homeowners need it most, but heat can quickly turn into havoc when a furnace breaks down. While many people worry about losing heating in the event of a furnace malfunction, there are other risks to consider such as a fire or carbon monoxide leak. It’s crucial to take safety precautions to prevent these types of issues and to truly feel comfortable with the furnace in your home.

Despite the risks, proper maintenance ensures that a gas furnace will work properly even when outdoor temperatures plummet. If you haven’t checked on the status of your furnace in quite some time, late winter is a great time to do some inspecting. You can prepare yourself for late season cold snaps and go into spring knowing your furnace is in good condition. Read on to see our top five gas furnace safety tips that will make your gas furnace safer.

1. Clear Clutter

As a general rule, the minimum clear space around a furnace should be about two feet, and more for anything flammable. This includes lint, dust, papers, clothes, paint, rags and much more. You can remove lint and dust with a vacuum cleaner — doing so once a month will help prevent dangerous buildup. Additionally, look for flammable liquids in the same room as your furnace and ensure that they are sealed in an airtight container to prevent accidental ignition. Furnace fire safety starts with a watchful eye, so always look for the hidden dangers that could be sitting right next to your furnace.

2. Change Filters

It’s easy to ignore the need to change your furnace filters, but also dangerous. Not only does a furnace have to work harder to push air through a dirty filter (increasing energy costs) but it also reduces the quality of air in your home. To avoid breathing in dust particles on a daily basis, be sure to change your furnace’s filter every 1 to 3 months. During the winter months, you may want to increase this frequency to avoid the risk of a breakdown that could leave your home feeling frigid.

3. Detect Smoke & Carbon Monoxide

Heat is a good thing during winter — except when it’s the result of a furnace fire. To protect your family from the risks of a fire, ensure that a smoke detector is present in the same room as your furnace and replace its batteries on a yearly basis. In the same vein, a malfunctioning furnace can release dangerous carbon monoxide into the air, so it’s crucial to have a fully-charged detector nearby. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, so never rely on your sense of smell to detect problems near the furnace.

4. Enhance Airflow

The Upper Midwest has experienced ample snowfall in 2019, and the accumulation shows no signs of stopping. When snow piles up, it can cause your gas furnace to shut down. That’s because the snow can obstruct two of the most important components of your home comfort system — the exterior air intake and exhaust from a natural gas furnace. The only way to keep air flowing smoothly throughout your home is to complete a visual inspection of these areas after a significant snowfall to look for any blockages. Clearing out these areas when your furnace stalls will lead to less strain on the system and a longer service life.

5. Get Regular Maintenance

It’s more cost-effective to take a proactive approach to furnace maintenance than a reactive one. When something goes wrong and a furnace breaks down, a repair or replacement isn’t a choice — it’s a costly necessity. What’s more, annual furnace maintenance ensures that your heating runs as efficiently as possible, saving you even more money in the long run. Nobody expects to have furnace issues, but without maintenance, the risks of experiencing problems are much higher. If you’re interested in protecting your furnace — and more importantly — your family from furnace issues, learn about Genz-Ryan’s comprehensive maintenance service.

Prioritize Furnace Safety

Even if you’ve never experienced gas furnace issues in the past, it only takes one to change the way you think about furnace safety. Don’t learn the hard way — understand that a gas furnace is a mechanical device that can break and cause real harm without the right precautions.

The Genz-Ryan team is here to help you get the most out of your furnace and prevent issues from arising. Reach out to our team if you have any questions about a gas furnace installation, repair or maintenance plan that makes your home a safer place to live.